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Urban fantasy has gained an insane amount of popularity over the recent years. With over 50,000 books in the ‘Popular Urban Fantasy’ section on Goodreads, it’s clear this genre is booming. I wanted to share my thoughts on why I think this genre has become so popular. Also, what makes urban fantasy so appealing in general?
Fantasy is known to be an immersive and engaging genre. What makes fantasy so immersive? One word: imagination. Fantasy explores the wonders of imagination in ways other genres can’t. The fact that you can create an entire world filled with fictional characters is amazing! Fantasy allows our imaginations to run wild. We can immerse ourselves into completely different worlds. Using nothing but our imagination, we can create an entire life for ourselves within these worlds. The possibilities are just about endless.
The question of the hour is, what distinguishes fantasy and urban fantasy? While both do share the qualities listed above, urban fantasy has its own unique qualities. Urban fantasy has qualities that no other genre can touch upon. In this post, I will go over what separates urban fantasy from the rest.
Urban Fantasy Takes Place In The Real World
A fantasy novel takes place in a completely fictitious world. What makes urban fantasy so interesting is the fact that it takes place in real locations around the world. The action happens in your city, street, or local library. You can walk around your city with the sense that your favorite character once walked on the spot you’re standing on. It almost feels like they are there with you.
Villains roamed the streets you roam. Ghosts hide in your favorite restaurant. You hear the clanking of epic sword fights happening right under you. A story is much more relatable with familiar elements such as streets, buildings, and signs. Seeing these familiar elements brings you closer to the action, story, and characters.
“Hey, that’s my street!”
“I love eating there! Can’t believe I’m seeing the place fall to pieces.”
“I never thought a parking garage could be so awesome!”
Has this ever been you? I know this has been me, and it never gets old!
Immersing Yourself Into The Story
Nothing is more immersive than seeing our world altered by mythical creatures and beings. We can all agree that seeing the real world transform and shatter is an entertaining experience. We see everyday people reacting to extraordinary events. We witness buildings crumble and explode. We see, flying through the sky, objects that nobody would even think to be there. Whatever may happen, it’s always interesting to see our own world from a different perspective.
Think about the movie Ghostbusters. Remember the Stay Puft marshmallow man stomping through New York City? You see residents panicking and running away. Buildings come crashing down. The classic explosion that leaves the city in ruins. All of these elements come to life right in New York.
The fact that all of the action takes place in a real location makes you wonder what it’d be like if a 100-foot marshmallow man actually came to life and started smashing everything. What would you do? How would you react? You can put yourself into the situation and see things from your own perspective. You get to work your imagination, which is never a bad thing!
We all like to escape to different worlds and imagine what our lives could be like. Sometimes we don’t want to escape to a different world, but see the one we’re living in now transform into something completely different. We all like to shake things up. Urban fantasy allows us to do just that using one tool: our imagination.
When real life and fantasy mix, the result is urban fantasy. It’s easy to imagine how such a genre became so popular. We all like to daydream about scenarios that are otherwise impossible. Some of us like to imagine life with psychic powers and abilities. Others would love to be able to communicate with the dead. People just want to immerse themselves into worlds completely thought up by the imagination. Everybody does this from time to time, even if they don’t like to admit it. Though, we can all admit that it’s lots of fun!
When a mysterious beast savagely mauls random residents of Cold City, the police assume that these are the killings of a rogue wolf. But experienced private investigator, Bellamy Vale, is unconvinced.
Ordered by Death herself to investigate, Vale has no choice but to obey, for his boss is not someone to disappoint—if he wants to keep breathing, that is.
With friend and computer hacker Zian, nosy journalist Candice Kennedy, and homicide sergeant Melanie Ramirez by his side, Vale has no choice but to end the killings or face the wrath of the demon who holds his life in her hands.
Enjoy an Excerpt
I was having a bad day.
The ugly thug facing me readied himself for the next swing. “What did you say, bastard?” His red-splattered knuckles were ready for the next round; my body wasn’t.
“I’m haffin a fah fay,” I managed to repeat through a mouthful of saliva and blood.
That made Julian Ragazzo, former welterweight boxing champ and top bodyguard to the city’s prime Italian Mafia family, smile. His wet beard glistened with sweat beads around stained teeth. Glad one of us was happy.
I took stock of the damage Ragazzo had already done. Broken nose, check. Split lip, check. Swollen eye, check. Broken rib, double check, and the list went on and on. It could have been worse. The injuries, though painful, weren’t enough to put me in the hospital. Sure, I’d hurt for a week or four, but I’d live to tell the tale outside of a body cast. I knew that, and Ragazzo did, too. This was a game we’d both played before … not that I’d gotten any better at it.
I caught a reflection of myself in the glossy surface of a cabinet door. My messy mop of brown locks was matted with blood on one side and the five o’clock shadow had a hard time concealing a fast-bruising chin. One eye was swollen shut and the other had a pale blue, haunted orb dancing amidst a sea of red veins. I was a mess, and not a hot one.
I closed my good eye and waited for the next blow. The bodyguard didn’t disappoint. A second later, he delivered a power punch and I saw stars. It didn’t help that I was tied to a chair and my already sore shoulders screamed in protest at the added strain. In a noise that only I could hear, my body cried out, ‘How in all the hells was this part of the plan?’ Fair question—it wasn’t.
In truth, there may have been a few glitches here and there. Like those two extra guards at the office building’s back entrance, plus that wrong turn I took on the fourteenth floor. Yeah, okay … the plan was just as screwed as I was.
Ragazzo followed up his haymaker with another kick in the guts. It would have ripped a scream out of me if I’d had any breath left for it. Instead, my lungs just took in short, choppy gasps I couldn’t control.
“Well, well, well … look what the cat dragged in,” taunted an Italian-lilted voice.
I recognized the lazy drawl and opened my good eye to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough, Alonzo Vitorini, Cold City’s resident wannabe kingpin, stood near the entrance in a dark-green pinstriped suit. Shit, looking at his ugly get-up hurt worse than any of Ragazzo’s blows.
Vitorini sauntered into the room, smiling as he noticed my stare. “Like the suit?” he asked, doing a little pirouette to show off this walking insult to fashion.
I wasn’t going to reply, but the second my eye caught sight of the finishing touch, a pair of black-and-white spectator shoes, my mouth kicked into gear on its own.
“Al Capone called,” I wheezed out. “He wants his brogues back.”
Vitorini laughed, the corners of his muddy-green eyes wrinkling. Not sure if he was laughing at the crack or the fact that he was going to kill me for it in another minute or two.
About the Author:
She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.
She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students.
Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.
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